It’s that time of year again. Transfer rumours are circling like mad as squads begin to take shape ahead of 2022. The big clubs are looking for the final piece of the puzzle to make them champions whilst those at the other end of the table are looking for the right signing to propel them into the play-offs.
Success often hinges on signings and bringing in the right player at the right time to compliment your squad.
So, with that in mind here’s your club’s best signing of the last decade.
Castleford: Luke Gale
This one was a toss up between Gale and Paul McShane. McShane has been an outstanding player for Castleford and has really come into his own in the last couple of years but I can’t look past what Gale brought in Castleford’s finest Super League years. He arrived in 2015 and added immediately to the Tigers’ attack forcing his way into the Dream Team and masterminding two Headingley wins at the expense of the eventual Champions. He made Castleford Super League’s most exciting team in 2016 before guiding them to top spot in 2017. He claimed the Man of Steel and fired the Tigers to Old Trafford and his quality was epitomised in the record breaking numbers produced by the wingers in his side with Denny Solomona and Greg Eden scoring an absurd amount of tries down his left edge.
Catalans: Sam Tomkins
The Dragons look like genuine contenders in 2021, but I wager that wouldn’t be the case if not for Sam Tomkins. Since bursting onto the scene back in 2009, there have been few better players than the former Man of Steel. He brings Catalans both experience and bags of skill. There’s no doubt he can win a game in an instant but as he reaches the twilight of his career, he’s become a smarter player one who could fire the Dragons to glory this year.
Huddersfield: Aidan Sezer
He may be on his way out at the end of this season, but few players can claim to have the quality and the influence Sezer offers Huddersfield. Since he joined, the Giants have always struggled when he’s not been in the side and have looked like potential play-off hopefuls when he has starred. Had he not been hit by injury this season the Giants would be much better off.
Hull FC: Marc Sneyd
He won back-to-back Lance Todd trophies as Hull FC ended their Wembley wait with consecutive Challenge Cup wins, what more could you want? Yes, maybe we’re still waiting for him to turn Hull into Super League Champions, but the best Hull team of the Super League era – the side who finished third in both 2016 and 2017 whilst bringing home silverware from London – hinged on his quality.
Hull KR: Shaun Kenny-Dowall
This was a major coup. In 2020, Hull KR were able to secure the services of NRL winner and New Zealand international Kenny-Dowall. He brought experience and class that now appears to be firing the Robins towards success down their potent left edge. I could have very easily picked one of his left-side buddies in Kane Linnett whilst in the years to come if Ryan Hall continues his brilliant start to life in Hull, he could very well make this list as the Rovers put together the competition’s best left edge.
Leeds: Adam Cuthbertson
He was Leeds’ only off-season signing after a sixth-place finish in 2014. An unknown quantity, few expected him to do what he did in 2015. He got Leeds playing some outstanding attacking rugby thanks to his ability to conjure up offload after offload in a record-breaking campaign that saw him make twice as many offloads as the next best offloader in the comp. He was nominated for the Man of Steel and helped Leeds to the treble in his first season before adding a second Super League title to his name in 2017. In his final game as a Rhino, he won yet another trophy this time at Wembley in the shape of a second Challenge Cup.
Leigh: Micky Higham
This signing was both sentimental and successful. It saw Higham – one of Super League’s best and most unappreciated hookers – return to where it all started with the goal of finally guiding Leigh back to Super League. A brilliant 2016 campaign and accomplished performances in the Middle 8s saw Higham and Leigh return to Super League in 2017 and they gave survival a real good go and were unlucky to be relegated in the Million Pound Game at the hands of Catalans.
Salford: Jackson Hastings
Who else was it going to be? He arrived in 2018 and steered Salford well away from relegation before producing miracles in 2019. The eventual Man of Steel winner did the unthinkable and led the Red Devils all the way to the Grand Final where they gave it a really good go against league leaders St Helens. Arguably the best player in the league right now, he worked wonders for Salford and gave their supporters memories that will last a lifetime.
St Helens: Alex Walmsley
I imagine very few people raised an eyebrow when Alex Walmsley switched from Batley to St Helens. However, eight years later he’s gone on to be the best prop in Super League over the last few years and a three-time Super League Champion. He’s been the backbone of St Helens’ recent success and if the Saints do win three titles in a row you know he’ll be at the heart of it.
Wakefield: David Fifita
It’s no coincidence that Fifita’s arrival in West Yorkshire coincided with Wakefield’s best period in Super League. After scraping to survival thanks to a Million Pound Game win over Bradford, Trinity finished in the top six for three consecutive seasons from 2016 to 2018 on the back of his power down the middle of the field. Few forwards are as explosive as the big prop and few lift their team like he does.
Warrington: Daryl Clark
When Clark signed for Warrington having only just won the Man of Steel at Castleford, it was a major deal and there were plenty of doubters who believed the pacey hooker would struggle at the Halliwell Jones. How wrong they were. He’s gone onto become one of the league’s best number nines thanks to his intelligence, skill and his raw speed which allows him to tear defences apart down the middle of the field.
Wigan: John Bateman
Bateman arrived at Wigan having impressed at Odsal despite Bradford’s financial struggles. He quickly kicked on at the DW Stadium thanks to his grit and physicality which saw him go toe-to-toe with the likes of Jamie Peacock. He gradually got better and better matching his power with skill as he took Wigan to the 2016 and 2018 titles before leaving to Canberra where he continued to impress. Now back at Wigan, you fancy if the Warriors are going to get back on top, he’ll be at the heart of it.